Make no mistake about it — Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons’ unique game essentially leaves him peerless in NBA Basketball.
He doesn’t have a jumper to speak of, but he scores at the basket like few others and is an elite passer. His perimeter defense and ability to guard multiple positions are otherworldly, but he also lacks aggressiveness offensively and can’t be trusted to hit clutch free throws.
To quote Winston Churchill, Simmons is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. That said, the pros have always outweighed the cons. Warts and all, Simmons has consistently made his team better when he has been on the floor.
During the Sixers’ current playoff run, though, some of the holes in his game have bubbled to surface in a big, bad way. And those idiosyncratic aspects of his skillset have come back to bite Philladelphia on more than one occasion.
Like when his 4-for-14 performance from the charity stripe helped the Hawks come back from 26 points down to steal the win in Game 5. Or when he finished Game 6 with six points on 2-of-6 shooting, had five fouls and was more or less unplayable down the stretch.
Consequently, a growing contingent of the Philly faithful are full-on raging at the former No. 1 overall pick like never before.
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Big Ben Gets Lit-Up on Instagram
After the Sixers’ series-tying Game 6 victory, Simmons updated his Instagram timeline with a picture of himself, as well as the hashtag #OTTNO (on to the next one). Despite the relatively innocuous nature of the post, Philly fans descended on the comment thread en masse to criticize the Sixers’ floor general.
“You don’t get to post bro,” declared one disenchanted fan.
“Can’t wait till we trade him For [Damian] Lillard,” wrote a second commenter.
“Simmons please I love you,” added a third Sixers supporter. “But you gotta work on your free throws and being more aggressive.”
“U HAD MORE FOULS THEN [sic] POINTS AND GET BENCHED FOR A ROOKIE AND UR POSTING THIS⁉️⁉️” commented a fourth fan, in reference to Tyrese Maxey’s extended fourth-quarter minutes.
This is just a smattering of the veritable bonanza of angry comments and critical replies Simmons recevied. He has always had his detractors, of course, even if they were in the minority. Clearly, though, his Game 6 performance — during which the Sixers were outscored by seven points when he was on the floor — has bolstered their ranks.
Maxey Capitalizes on Simmons’ Struggles
With Simmons failing to make a positive impact, Sixers coach Doc Rivers went to Maxey when the game and the team’s season were both on the line. His 29 minutes, which equated to four more than Simmons received, were a playoff-high for the 20-year-old rookie, and he definitely made the most of them.
Maxey finished with 16 points on 5-of-12 shooting and added seven rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block. His plus/minus score of 12 points on the positive side of the ledger was a team-best.
“Without Tyrese, we don’t win that game,” NBA MVP runner-up Joel Embiid said following the 104-99 win, via The Athletic. “Maxey was huge tonight.”
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